MC volleyball 2

Manhattan Christian’s Hailey VanDyken hits the ball past the block of Gardiner’s Miya Ross on Friday.

CHURCHILL — After clinching a berth to the Class C tournament Friday, longtime Manhattan Christian head coach Jill Ayers felt her team didn’t start as well as it could’ve Saturday afternoon.

Still, the Eagles did enough to claim their second consecutive Western C Divisional championship in the Memorial Event Center. Led by 18 kills each from Eliana Kuperus and Kiersten Van Kirk, Christian beat Charlo 25-13, 25-16, 19-25, 25-19 in the title match.

“Wasn’t our best day,” Ayers said, “but hey, we got the job done. Whatever it takes.”

Charlo had beaten Gardiner in four sets in the consolation match earlier in the day to earn a berth to state. It was a back-and-forth contest, and Ayers noted they were tired entering the finale.

“We came out and just pretty easily swept the first two sets. And then I think they kind of decided, ‘Hey, let’s just play volleyball.’ So they turned it back on in the third set, and we had a few rough spots.”

But the Eagles (21-1) held off a weary Charlo squad in the fourth set.

“Everybody just did their part,” Ayers said. “But after the game, I went in the locker room and I said to the girls, ‘I wouldn’t know if we won or lost.’ Because they just weren’t thrilled. I think the big thrill was last night beating Gardiner, and I think they just already moved on to next week and have their eyes set on something bigger than divisionals.”

Christian, which beat District 11C rival Gardiner in Friday’s undefeated semifinal to punch its ticket to state, placed fourth at state a year ago.

Maddie Liudahl tallied 30 digs for the Eagles Saturday, while Taylor DeVries dished out 41 assists and had 18 digs.

“Just a total team effort today from everybody,” Ayers said. “Bench players, subs, starters, it was a true team effort.”

Colton Pool can be reached at or 406-582-2690. Follow him on Twitter @CPoolReporter.